CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A Clarksville, Tennessee, hairdresser vowed to give her 300 U.S. soldier clients free haircuts for Christmas with help from the community.
"I thought what could be better than Christmas than getting free haircuts for Christmas? I think it would be just completely awesome. I know they go for leave maybe the week before Christmas. So, it would be cool to be able to be able to give them those haircuts then," explained Talisha Huddleston, hairdresser and owner of Talisha's Salon Spa.
She moved to Clarksville in late 2020 from Nashville where she had been a hairdresser for more than a decade.
"My husband passed away, which was devastating for me. And I kept feeling an emptiness like I needed to move. I needed to move and see something else," recounted Huddleston.
Soon after the move with her teenage children, she opened Talisha's Salon Spa across the street from Fort Campbell. Within a year, her business grew to 500 clients, 300 of which are U.S. soldiers based at Fort Campbell.
"So one by one, they come they find me. And we give them cool haircuts, you know, so that they can have that sense of identity when they go home and actually take the uniform off. It's very important," explained Huddleston. "So with that being said, I try to offer monthly different things for them. For example, when they go to the field, they come back they've got dirt, grime, mud everywhere on them. So, I offer a free complimentary shampoo for them that they can receive at any time."
Soldiers are required to keep their hair a certain length causing a need for more frequent haircuts.
"Some come every week. Some come every two weeks," Huddleston said.
Her haircuts for soldiers are $27 but she hopes after the Christmas cuts, to work towards making haircuts for U.S. soldiers completely free.
"I would love to do this at other nearby — other military bases. Not just be for them here in Fort Campbell, but there's other bases that soldiers need the same type of care. That's my goal. What I'd like to see happen I want to be able to travel to different ones and offer this," explained Huddleston.
Cliff Blade is a U.S. Army soldier based at Fort Campbell and one of Huddleston's 300 clients.
"I think that trust that you build when you first meet someone, especially if they provide a great service, and if they're kind, it's absolutely something that you want. I think that once you establish that relationship, you just don't want to break it," he said about why he goes off the military base to Huddleston for his haircuts.
She said she is honored to provide stylish cuts for soldiers within the military's specifications and hopes to show the power of a fresh haircut.
"We tend to, you know, how like a small kid can see a big person stand in front and they look him like, ‘Oh, that's a giant.’ And when we think of military, we think of you know, superhero almost. But they are they're looking at you and they'll say, 'No, I'm just, I'm just a man. I'm just a man. I get up every day, like you guys do. And we go do our job. And we serve our country,'" recounted Huddleston. "Literally, they just want to be just like us. So when we get to wear cool haircuts, they want one too."